Since about 90 percent of children are diagnosed with at least one ear infection, it is very likely that most employees with children will miss at least one day of work due to caring for a sick child. Continuwell nurses are here to assess you and your family’s symptoms and may be able to save you a trip to your primary healthcare provider. Continuwell has put together a brief overview of what an ear infection is and what causes it, in order to best prepare you and your family for this cold and flu accomplice. Ear infections can cause major disruptions to both family and work life as both will have to be rearranged to provide care. Continuwell’s tips will help members and their families to cut down on sick time.
What is it: An infection of the ear caused by either bacteria or a virus.
Who is at risk: Anyone can suffer from an ear infection; however young children under 3 years old are most at risk. This is due to the shape of their eustachian tubes, which are shorter and more horizontal, which makes it tough for fluid to drain. Moreover, because a child’s immune system is still developing, it is more difficult to fight off the infection.
Symptoms: Here are the symptoms that our Continuwell nurses look for that are typically associated with an ear infection:
- Ear Pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Trouble hearing
- Fluid oozing from ears
- Loss of appetite
- Dizziness or problems with balance
How is it diagnosed: It is difficult to know if one of the symptoms above is indicative of an ear infection. Symptoms manifest differently person to person. Continuwell nurses are here to talk members through all the symptoms they are experiencing in order to devise the best care plan. If a doctor is needed, our nurses will advise on your next steps to get you back to feeling 100 percent like yourself again.
Complications: Though long-term complications are rare, there are some that can result from frequent or persistent infections. Our nurses are able to provide further information on ear infection complications. The idea of complications may seem scary, but as long as your Continuwell nurse is updated with your symptoms, most can be caught in time.
Ear Infections in the Workplace:
While an ear infection might not cause employees to miss any work, those that are suffering from the uncomfortable ache in their ears might see a decrease in overall productivity. Employees will be distracted and unfocused, and this may trickle down to affect others in the workplace as well. They may also contribute to the spread of the germs in the workplace, which can lead to more workers coming down with ear infections.
Continuwell nurses are available to advise them the best way to treat their ear infections, which in most cases will be through a combination of over the counter medicines such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen and home remedies such as a warm compress to the ear. In most scenarios the ear pain will get better without treatment, but our nurses should always be contacted just in case. Our nurses will be able to advise what should be done next if members or their family members experience any prolonged symptoms.
Prevention: Prevention is the best way to avoid letting ear infections disrupt life at home and work. Continuwell nurses offer these tips to avoid ear infections:
- Vaccinations- influenza and the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13)
- Washing hands often
- Avoid smoke
- Avoid sick children
Did you know? Along with Wellness baby visits, ear infections are the most common reason for pediatrician visits. Approximately 30 million doctor visits per year in the U.S.